Here are some of our frequently asked questions (FAQ):

What’s the difference between a speech pathologist and a speech therapist?

The difference is where they live! In Australia, the university-educated health professionals who treat communication difficulties are called speech pathologists; in some other countries they are called speech therapists.

Do I need a referral to see a speech pathologist?

No, you don’t need a referral. If you have a concern about your communication or someone in your family, you can contact us to discuss your needs.

What funding is available?

  • We are a registered Medicare provider. Medicare rebates are available for a limited number of appointments per year, in some specific circumstances. There are specific criteria for accessing these rebates, which is managed by your GP.
  • We are registered with a number of private health funds. Check your private health insurance ‘extras’ package to see whether you are eligible for rebates on speech pathology services.
  • We are able to provide services to NDIS participants with plan-managed or self-managed funding packages. We are in the process of registering to provide services to participants with agency-managed funding.

Can you assess/treat autism?

We can assess and provide information on your child’s language and social communication skills, liaising with your paediatrician or psychologist if appropriate.

We are experienced in supporting the communication needs of children and young people with autism. We provide interventions that are tailored and specific to the needs of the individual. If you have any questions about a specific program or intervention, please contact us.

Do you assess/treat dyslexia?

We can assess a wide range of language and literacy skills, including knowledge of the English sound system and letter-sound relationships, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. We can provide information on an individual’s skills compared to others their age, as well as relative strengths and weaknesses.

We are experienced in providing literacy interventions that are tailored to the needs of the individual. We follow the best practice recommendations of current research in reading science and intervention.

When should I be worried?

The short answer is that you know yourself and your family best. If you notice that something seems different or doesn’t seem right, then it is worth asking whether an assessment might be recommended. We can discuss your concerns and needs with you. We will not recommend speech pathology services if we do not think there is a need.

While people can improve communication skills across the lifespan, there are critical ages or periods for treatment of some types of difficulties. There can also be risks around delaying treatment in some situations. Contact us to discuss your needs and concerns.

Can you work with my child at school?

Northside Speech provides a clinical speech pathology service, meaning that we diagnose communication difficulties, and implement evidence-based treatments for these difficulties. Just as the causes of communication difficulties can vary, the types of treatments that work for these difficulties also vary. Just as a GP could not prescribe antibiotics to treat every type of illness, or a physiotherapist could not recommend neck stretches to treat every type of injury, the treatment for the communication difficulty needs to be specific to the type of difficulty and your goals for treatment.

Some types of treatments can be effectively implemented via school visits while others cannot. There is a broad body of speech pathology research, as well as our own clinical experience, that informs what is likely to be effective in a given case. Some types of treatment:

  • Require daily practice in order to reverse old habits and form new habits. When these types of treatments are only practiced once per week, when the speech pathologist visits the school, there is not enough practice to reverse the old habit, and so there are no results, despite paying for appointments.
  • Require support from multiple adults or across multiple settings to be effective. When these types of treatments are only practiced when the speech pathologist visits the school, children typically learn how to perform the skill exceptionally well during the appointment, but are unable to perform the skill as soon as the speech pathologist leaves, meaning there are no results, despite paying for appointments.
  • May have other types of restrictions in schools. For example, some schools may have additional policies (such as restrictions on therapist visits) that may prevent a treatment from being effectively implemented.

At Northside Speech, we only offer school visits to implement treatments that can be effectively delivered in this way. If we do not believe that your child’s communication difficulty can be effectively treated via school visits (i.e. that you would continue to pay for appointments but there would be no results), we will not offer school visits.

While we understand that families are busy, with many important priorities, and that school visits can be a convenient way to try ensure a child attends their appointments and to try to maximise therapist-teacher collaboration, it is our firm policy to only offer services which we have reason to believe will lead to improved outcomes and will benefit the participant.

We are happy to offer school visits as a component of our service when:

  • Your child has a clinical need for the service.
  • Your goals are likely to be met through a treatment that can be delivered effectively via school visits.
  • The school is welcoming of the arrangement, and is able to provide the necessary allowances for the treatment to be delivered effectively at school.


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